Monday , August 20 2018
Home / James Taylor

James Taylor

Articles by James Taylor

Separation of Families is NOT Necessary for Detention.

June 16, 2018

Social Justice, Current Events

I’ve noticed that many defenders of the hateful policy of separating families at the US border claim that this is “necessary” if they are going to be detained.
That’s straightforwardly false.
When Japanese-Americans were (utterly immorally, and utterly hatefully) “detained” in internment camps during the Second World War there was no deliberate policy of breaking up families; they were interned together. (In appalling conditions.) There is thus nothing preventing the families who are currently crossing the border from similarly being detained together. To separate them is thus a choice, not a necessity.
When you defend a policy that is in one respect worse than

Read More »

UnKoch My Campus Update: A Concerned Faculty Member at Brown Clarifies Their Letter

January 25, 2018

Democracy, Current Events

Blogger’s Note: This evening I received this following letter from a faculty member at Brown, who desires to remain anonymous to hide the fact that they are fictitious. In accordance with their wishes, I reproduce it in full here:
I recently wrote a letter to the wonderful organization UnKoch My Campus in which I criticized the funding of higher education by the billionaire industrialists and international men of mystery Charles and David Koch. As many are now waking to realize these peddlers of free trade and voluntary transactions are secretly infiltrating American higher education through shadowy front organizations named after themselves.  As a faculty member at

Read More »

A Modest Proposal: Make Academics Who Call for Papers to be Retracted Do Their Jobs!

October 13, 2017

Current Events

In the light of both the Gilley case (“The case for colonialism”) and the Tuvel case (“In Defense of Transracialism”) I’ve been thinking a lot about what an appropriate response would be to the originators (and signers) of the petitions that called for the retraction of their papers on the grounds that they were defending views that were “offensive”.

If you organize a mob to demand someone else’s work be silenced then you have horribly misunderstood your role as an academic–or else you just don’t care about it. (I think you’ve also understood your moral obligations as a rational person, but I’m willing to accept that “activists” might have different duties in these cases than

Read More »

Discussion of Bruce Gilley’s “The case for colonialism” over at Cato Unbound.

October 13, 2017

Announcements, Current Events

My essay “Foreign Rule and Colonial Fictions” is now up at Cato Unbound‘s new issue “Perspectives on Colonialism”. This was written as a response to the absolutely excellent lead paper by Sahar Khan, “Why Libertarians Shouldn’t Accept the Case for Colonialism”. I also highly recommend Berny Sebe’s response essay, “The Case Against Historical Anachronism”.
Enjoy the discussion!

Read More »

The Case for Colonialism: Don’t retract, rebut…. and censure those who seek to silence.

September 24, 2017

Current Events

In a recent paper entitled “The case for colonialism” Bruce Gilley argued that “Western colonialism was, as a general rule, both objectively beneficial and subjectively legitimate in most of the places where it was found”. Gilley then argued that colonialism should be “recovered” “by reclaiming colonial modes of governance, by recolonizing some areas, and by creating new Western colonies from scratch”. These are highly controversial claims. But it is unlikely that Gilley anticipated the antipathy with which they would be received. Two petitions were initiated—gathering over 15,000 signatures between them—demanding that the journal in which the paper was published (Third World

Read More »

Student Seminar on “Markets and Morality”

September 19, 2017


I’ll be hosting a student conference on “Markets and Morality” at The College of New Jersey in conjunction with the wonderful Institute for Humane Studies on Sept. 29th and 30th. More information here! Please do consider attending if you’re in the Ewing/Princeton area!

Read More »

Can you be a libertarian racist or anti-Semite?

September 5, 2017

Social Justice, Current Events

OK, now we’ve got that out of the way, here’s why:

As a political philosophy libertarianism is based on the view that all individual humans are worthy of respect, and that their actions should not be subject to the coercive interference of another without just cause. Now, what counts as “just cause” is open for debate. But it’s clear that if we truly believe that all individuals are worthy of respect then the mere fact that someone has a particular ancestry wouldn’t justify treating her differently from anyone else. (Nor, incidentally, would the mere fact that someone is a different sex justify her differential treatment.) If you believe that it does then

Read More »

Chuck ’em out! The politicians who proposed the RAISE Act are INELIGIBLE to live in the United States!

August 10, 2017

Current Events

Let’s see….

Tom Cotton: Age 40, US JD law degree, salary $39,400, good English (given how the Act is written he is disbarred from being “excellent” or “fluent”), no Nobel Prize, no Olympic medal, no foreign currency to invest.

Points: 6+0+0+10+0+0+0=16

(NB: Given how the Act is written an applicant who answers the education questions truthfully receives zero points for education if they have a degree higher than a BA outside a STEM field.)


David Perdue: Age 67, US MA degree in management field, salary in business unknown (likely high), good English (see above), no Nobel Prize, no Olympic medal, no foreign currency to invest.

Read More »

“Afraid to be Free” and Nancy MacLean Revisited.

July 27, 2017

Democracy, Current Events

A few people have noted (correctly) that Nancy MacLean stated that she was quoting from a draft of “Afraid to be Free”. Since this was so, some (well, one person!) have claimed that my response to her was unfair.
Now, it’s true that MacLean said that she was quoting from the first draft of this paper. But she immediately afterwards stated that this draft was “later published as in Public Choice 120, no. 3 (September 2004).”
Three points are worth noting here:
1) If one refers to a draft, and if this draft changes before the published version, it is standard practice both to note this, and (preferably) include in the bibliography separate references to both drafts.

Read More »

Did Buchanan Really Think That African-Americans Had No Desire For Freedom? Another Major Distortion from Nancy Maclean.

July 22, 2017

Current Events, Book/Article Reviews

On July 19th The Chronicle of Higher Education published a piece giving Nancy Maclean the opportunity to respond to her critics. (Unfortunately, she didn’t take the opportunity to respond to any of the substantive criticisms that Democracy in Chains has been subject to, here, here, here, here, here, here, and in many, many, many, more places, but let that pass.) One of Maclean’s defenders, John Jackson, in the comments section claimed that James Buchanan “questioned that African Americans were even fit for self-governance”.  In support of this he quoted Maclean: “The thirst for freedom, and responsibility, is perhaps not nearly so universal as so many

Read More »

Think “Real Peer Review” shows that Gender Studies is Junk? Think Again!

May 29, 2017

Current Events

A lot of commentators on my recent posts on “The Conceptual Penis as a Social Construct” have claimed that the hoax was simply drawing attention to how worthless Gender Studies is, citing as their “source” the Twitter feed  “Real Peer Review”.
Here’s a very nice (informal, and slightly sweary) podcast by Serious Podcast that actually looks at the papers cited by “Real Peer Review” as nonsense. As background, Serious Podcast had interviewed James Lindsay on the hoax, and he’d made the same claim as the commentators: That his hoax was drawing attention to a systematic problem in Gender Studies. So, Serious Podcast asked him to back up his claims, and Lindsay sent them an email with

Read More »

A robust response from the editorial team of NORMA on the failed “Conceptual Penis” Hoax!

May 26, 2017

Current Events

The editorial team of NORMA: International Journal for Masculinity Studies have published their official response to Lindsay and Boghossian’s attempted hoax on their Facebook page.  It’s rather robust, and well worth a read!
On February 17 NORMA: International Journal for Masculinity Studies received a submission entitled ’The conceptual penis as a social construct’ in the manuscript system of our journal. After the routine technical check of the manuscript, the article was assigned to us, the editors. After having reviewed the text we rejected the article as unsuitable on the grounds that the content was incomprehensible. In short, it was nonsense. The reject message

Read More »

Failed and Flaccid: The “Conceptual Penis” Hoax, Once Again.

May 25, 2017

Current Events

As is now widely known James Lindsay and Peter Boghossian submitted a fake paper entitled “The Conceptual Penis as a Social Construct” which was published in Cogent Social Sciences. They then loudly trumpeted this fact in the pages of Skeptic magazine, concluding “that gender studies is crippled academically by an overriding almost-religious belief that maleness is the root of all evil“, and that there are problems with the “open-access, pay-to-publish model” of academic publishing. They made clear that in their view the publication of their paper primarily shows that here are serious problems in “the entire academic enterprise collectively referred to as “gender studies” and

Read More »

Why the “Conceptual Penis” Hoax is Just a Big Cock Up.

May 20, 2017

Current Events, Academic Philosophy

After the revelation that a paper on “The Conceptual Penis as a Social Construct” was submitted as a hoax to the journal Cogent Social Sciences there’s sure to be a lot of merriment at the expense of Gender Studies departments. But it turns out that the joke’s on the hoaxers themselves–both for failing to spot some very obvious red flags about this “journal,” and for their rather bizarre leaps of logic.

It might be. But their hoax gives us absolutely no reason to believe this. First, let’s look at the “journal” that they were accepted at.  Like all the digital, open-access journals run by Cogent (a house most people have never heard of before now) it

Read More »


December 23, 2016

Religion, Current Events

The Republican Party is considering trying to pass the First Amendment Defense Act (FADA) once Trump takes office. This Act, if passed as worded, will have some interesting and unintended consequences for Catholics–who, with the Act’s obvious target of gay people, could become legitimate targets of discrimination.

The FADA “prohibits the federal government from taking discriminatory action against a person on the basis that such person believes or acts in accordance with a religious belief or moral conviction that: (1) marriage is or should be recognized as the union of one man and one woman, or (2) sexual relations are properly reserved to such a marriage.”
In Catholic canon

Read More »

“We’re Not Privileged Enough!” Complain Selfish and Snobbish Adjuncts at Ithaca College

October 28, 2016


The Washington Post recently ran a photo essay “showing what it really means to be adjunct faculty”. The essay featured various adjunct faculty members at Ithaca College standing in front of chalkboards on which they’d written their grievances, many of which focused on their perceived low pay. In itself, this wouldn’t be worthy of note–complaints from adjuncts about their pay are nothing new.  But what was striking about the complaints voiced by the Ithaca College adjuncts was the selfishness, snobbery, and sense of entitlement that were, at times, nakedly on display.

Several of the adjuncts indignantly noted that they had to supplement their teaching pay by doing part-time manual labour on

Read More »

CHOICE Review of Markets Without Limits.

August 17, 2016

CHOICE–the magazine that libraries use to help them decide which new books they should purchase–has just published my short “review” of Markets Without Limits. It’s available here…. and has a rather nice first sentence! ?

Read More »

Are there any (real) goods that you can’t simply buy?

August 15, 2016

Jason Brennan and Peter Jaworski have recently published a very nice set of responses to my Commentary in Business Ethics Journal Review on their recent book Markets Without Limits. One of the arguments that I offered in my Commentary was based on th…

Read More »

Commentary on Markets Without Limits

July 6, 2016

Business Ethics Journal Review has just published a short Commentary I wrote on Brennan and Jaworski’s excellent Markets Without Limits. (This can be readily accessed here!)  In brief, I argue that rather than offering a unified defence of their view…

Read More »

Death, and How Not To “Argue” Against Neoliberalism

June 17, 2016

I recently reviewed an excellent collection of papers on death and immortality (Michael Cholbi’s *Immortality and the Philosophy of Death*) for Notre Dame Philosophical Reviews. Nestled among the papers on deprivationism, Epicureanism, immortality, a…

Read More »